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Lesson Transcript

Hej, jag heter Elin Hi everybody! I’m Elin.
Welcome to SwedishPod101.com’s “Svenska på 3 minuter”. The fastest, easiest, and most fun way to learn Swedish.
In the last lesson, we learned how to ask "Where" questions in Swedish.
This time, we are going to ask questions with the interrogative word "When?"
Let’s go! Nu kör vi!
Imagine you want to ask when your roommate is coming back. You will ask him När kommer du tillbaka?
[slowly] När kommer du tillbaka?
So let’s break down this question.
First we had-
När, which is the basic translation of "When" in Swedish.
kommer is the verb "to come", att komma in the present form, as you might remember.
Then du, which is the word for "you".
And finally tillbaka which is "back."
So, all together it is När kommer du tillbaka?
"When will you come back?"
So in Swedish, "When" is translated as the word när. For example, if you want to ask "When were you born?" När är du född?
As in English, the interrogative word is placed in the first position, then the verb, and then the subject.
So let’s have a look at another example-
How can you say "When did you arrive?"
It is really simple since it is exactly the same pattern: När kom du?
First we have När, which is "When"
The second word is kom which is the verb att komma in past tense.
Finally du is "you" as always.
Have you noticed a difference between the sentences När kommer du tillbaka? and När kom du?
The first one is talking about a future action – "When are you coming back?" Whereas the second one is referring to the past "When did you arrive?"
The conclusion is that you can use the interrogative word När to talk about any moment, whether past or present.
However if you want to ask a question about duration as in "Since when have you been a teacher?" Then you will have to say Hur länge har du varit lärare?
Here we change när into hur länge meaning “for how long”.
Let’s say you want to meet a friend, how would you ask "When shall we meet?" in Swedish? It is very easy as you can translate it directly. It becomes- När ska vi träffas?
Here we use a verb you have already learnt, ska. Then we have vi which in English is “we”. And finally träffas which is derived from the verb att träffa - “to meet”.
But of course there are other ways to ask about time. You can even be more specific by asking about the year, the date or the hour.
For example, you can ask:
- "When did you start working this year?" will be
När började du jobba i år?
- "When is it best for you today?" will be När passar det bäst for dig i dag?
- "When in June did you travel?" När i juni reste du?
Now it’s time for Elin’s Insights.
When asking about duration, as I mentioned in this lesson, we change när into hur länge. Be careful to use när since it's often used in sarcasam, as in "Sen när var du rolig?" “Since when were you funny?”, implying that the person usually isn’t funny.
Sometimes people still use när without being sarcastic, although it’s quite rare, so don’t feel offended if someone uses this phrase during a conversation.
Ok, so in this lesson, we learned how to correctly use the interrogative Swedish word for "When", när, and also a bit about hur länge.
Next lesson we’ll learn more about asking questions with "Who" in Swedish.
Do you already know what it is? I’ll be waiting for you in the next Svenska på tre minuter lesson.
Vi ses nästa gång!